Here We Are Now. Engage Us.


A part of my job involves trying to get my fellow Tyson team members engaged in the issue of hunger. After all, there are 115,000 of us in 25 states. That’s a lot of potential impact.

We have a very small staff to do this hunger stuff, so not a lot of bandwidth for handholding or managing programs. Our best hope for getting people involved in our 90 locations is to direct them to their local foodbank or hunger organization to volunteer, and hope the hunger organization converts them into “true believers.”

Sometimes the experience the non-profit provides is great.  You can tell because those are the locations where Tyson team members are out there doing tremendous hunger relief stuff with little or no encourgement from those of us at the corporate office.

Sometimes the experience is…well, I know running a food bank is really hard work, and the responsibilities can be overwhelming. Designing the perfect volunteer experience is probably pretty far down on the priority list.

But at some point, you need to win peoples’ hearts. Then you can win their volunteer hours and maybe even some of their cash donations. And you’ll never, ever have a better opportunity than the first time they show up to volunteer.

What do you do when volunteers show up? Do you just send them back to the sorting room with a five minute elevator speech? Or is there something you do to reach out and make them lifelong advocates for your cause?

Do you value your true assets?

By Susan Brockway

New numbers have just been released and as expected, the number of people lacking food continues to grow.  At the food bank for which I’m board president, we look at each and every dollar closely and wonder what to do to make it stretch. 
Volunteers obviously are essential to helping meeting growing need.  Each volunteer hour represents dollars in offset labor costs.  Most food banks simply would not be in business were it not for the tireless efforts of their volunteers. 
Here’s a way you can honor your best volunteers:  Nominate them as a Tyson Hunger All-Star.  They’ll be recognized on this site, and each month we select one volunteer whose local Feeding America food bank will receive a truckload of Tyson products in his or her name. 
So take a little time and honor your volunteers for the assets they truly are.
 

 

Involve me and I’ll understand

 

 

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.    Chinese proverb

 

Day of Service at Capitol Area Food Bank, DC

By Ed Nicholson

Hunger is a complex issue.  Most people don’t really understand it. We’re told about it.  We’re rarely shown hunger (how many of us actually recognize it when we see it?).  If we’re fortunate, someone will take the time to involve us.

Many of those we know in hunger relief have been involved through working with Share Our Strength.  At their annual Conference of Leaders, they offer a day of service, wherein attendees go offsite and work together to benefit a hunger relief organization in the community in which the conference is being held.  It’s a lot of hard work for the group’s staff to organize, but it works in remarkable ways to bond the Share Our Strength community, and remind us of why we’ve come together.  We become involved; we understand.   

Who’s doing the hard work to engage your stakeholders?  What are you doing to create understanding among those you want to keep enlisted in your cause?  How do you involve them?

A Hero of the Iowa Floods–by Vicki Escarra

 

By Vicki Escarra–President and CEO of America’s Second Harvest, the Nation’s Food Bank Network
 
This past June, after Midwest flooding had reached residents all along the Cedar River, I visited the Northeast Iowa Food Bank—our member food bank in Waterloo, Iowa—to assess our recovery efforts. I travelled all through the affected areas and couldn’t believe the damage that was left in the aftermath of the floods. Residents told me it was the worst flooding they had ever seen. It was during these travels that I had the privilege of meeting one very heroic individual—Steve Mitchell, the Fire Chief for the Fire Department in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

When I met him, he was in the midst of operating an emergency-relief center for flood victims, which he had set-up in partnership with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank at a nearby elementary school. It was his idea to turn the school into an emergency-relief center, and he did everything in his power to make it a powerful resource for flood victims. As the waters began to rise, Steve had gone door to door notifying residents in areas that he and his firefighters knew were at risk of flooding. Then, as the flooding worsened, he and his fellow firefighters traveled by boat to rescue those who were stranded. His compassion was truly remarkable.

The need for emergency food always immediately follows a natural disaster. Steve’s relief center was open for 10 days, for up to 12 hours a day, and served food, water and cleaning supplies to nearly 5,000 people from more than five cities. With his dedication and the support of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, he helped those men, women, and families survive incredibly difficult times. Please join me in thanking Steve, and the countless other brave volunteers across the country, who give everything they have to help people in need.

 

Ann Bumgardner–Hunger All-Star of the Month

Each week, more than 3,000 hungry residents in Raleigh receive a meal that includes fresh and nutritious foods because of the passion and tenacity that Ann Bumgardner brings to the fight against hunger. Today Tyson Foods recognized the impact that Ann’s volunteer work has made in the lives of families in North Carolina and selected her as the next Tyson Hunger All-Star, an honor that comes with a donation of more than 15 tons of protein to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. 

Ann’s volunteerism is an excellent example of the Tyson Hunger All-Star program’s belief that one person can make a difference in the fight against hunger. After retiring from a career as an occupational therapist and raising five sons, Ann found a new calling. Each day she travels to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to “work the Market.”

In 2007 the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle recovered 5.7 million pounds of food and provided it free of charge to soup kitchens, church pantries, shelters and other human-service organizations. The single largest food donor is the North Carolina State Farmers Market—providing 1.5 million pounds of perishable food annually—and nearly all of that food is directly attributable to the hard work of Ann Bumgardner.